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Adam and Amy shot by Scottie Cameron

Dressed for the human-human experience

Amy and Adam are the brains and the hearts behind Melbourne label Kloke. Above all, it’s their appreciation for materials, their enthusiasm for what they do, their keenness to collaborate and their darn nice personalities that made us want to work with this mob on the Hotel Hotel and Monster kitchen and bar staff uniforms.

Amy and Adam did not deliver. On the uniforms. What they designed instead was a full wardrobe, and it’s a million times better than any uniform I’ve ever seen.

The couple began with the Hotel Hotel brief (nice and loose as ever ‘cause that’s how we roll) to make functional, beautiful pieces, locally made, out of natural fibres.

They began with the concept of a uniform, the things they liked about it and the things they didn’t.


The things they liked


The things they didn’t like


Then Amy and Adam spoke to the lovely Hotel Hotel staff about the practicalities of what they do in their everyday and where they do it.

From this distillation of what a uniform is and needs to do they came up with two overall objectives:

Numero uno – to make clothes that could be worn to allow for the character of the wearer but still be identifiable by guests as actual staff and not just mad dressers wandering around the lobby.

Numero duo – to design a uniform that does away with the conventional hierarchy of the service/guest experience and make it more into a human/human experience.

From there they worked off the now obvious theme: multi-form. Multi-form in that the clothes can be worn by both the ladies and the gents of different shapes, and can be worn differently according to the individual and how they’re feeling at the time.

They achieved this by designing unstructured and loose fitting garments made from Japanese cottons, linens, cotton-linen blends and cotton-ramie blends.

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Things we are thinking about, people we've met
and what’s happening in the Can Can.

  • Stories
  • People
  • Daily Rituals
  • Fix and Make
  • What's On

Dressed for the human-human experience

Bread + Honey

Smoking the bees

Beg, borrow and steal

Suzi McKinnon and Jai Tongbor

Adam and Amy Coombes

Sam and Claire Johnson

The daily rituals of Matt and Lentil

New rituals for play

The daily rituals of others (part two)

The ritual of limbering up

The daily ritual of long walks

Don McLean

WHEN Saturday 19.3 at 7.30PM
WHERE Canberra Theatre Centre

Symphony in the Park

WHEN Sunday 13.3 at 6.30PM
WHERE Commonwealth Park

Fringe Dwellings

WHEN Thursday 25.2 to Sunday 20.3 OPENING Thursday 25.2 at 6PM
WHERE Photo Access

The ONE Project

WHEN Thursday 25.2 to Sunday 20.3 OPENING Thursday 25.2 at 6PM
WHERE Photo Access

Women Artists from Warmum

WHEN Wednesday 10.2 to Sunday 6.3
WHERE Nancy Sever Gallery

Scare Campaign: Anti Valentine’s

WHEN Sunday 14.2 at 6.30PM
WHERE Dendy Cinema

The beginning of genius is being scared shitless. ― Louis-Ferdinand Céline


Al Stark

Al Stark has worked on lots of aspects of Hotel Hotel. From the conceptual to the physical.


Kris Coad

Kris Coad is a ceramic artist living and working in Melbourne.


Bread + Honey

The latest exhibition in the display cabinets on the ground floor of Hotel Hotel is called Bread + Honey. They are little beauties – twelve sculptural works made in collaboration between Italian artist Giorgia Mocilnik, natural beekeeper Honeyfingers and the European honeybee (Apis Mellifera). Yep we’re a bit bee crazy over here at the mo.

The works are made from bread and honeycomb.

Bees build comb on and make nests in lots of unexpected places: wall cavities in houses; compost bins; service pits in footpaths; and apparently on baguettes, pretzels and dinner rolls.

With these twelve objects the artists have gently, but deliberately, tested the adaptability of these animal architects by placing bread in the hives for the bees to attach their comb to.

The works highlight the intelligence of bees as architects; and the connection between bees and the food we eat. Wild and domestic honeybees carry out up to 80% of all pollination worldwide. Greenpeace USA estimates this as being one in every three bites of food we eat.

We’re installing on Saturday morning – come and say hi. They’ll be here until Sunday 20th March and are open to all y’all.

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Junk Drawer Number Twenty-four

Can Can Birds

FILED UNDER Junk Drawer POSTED BY Steph ()

The daily rituals of Matt and Lentil

Matt and Lentil are farmers. In Tablik, out Shepparton way, they run a three acre farm of vegetables, fruits, flowers, eggs and dairy. Through their website Grown & Gathered they share their adventures in sustainable living and tips on how to master life’s fundamentals. They came to stay with us. It was lovely. We got a glimpse into the small but purpose-filled rituals that make up their daily life.

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Steph working the smoker at the Mankoushe hive in Melbourne

Smoking the bees

By Honey Fingers.

On a wall in the ancient Egyptian Tomb of Rekhmire, now 3500 years old, is a rendering of two beekeepers working a stack of cylindrical, clay hives. One is kneeling before the apiary, removing pieces of honeycomb, stacking them in bowls. Our second beekeeper stands above him, with three curls of smoke rising from the bowl cupped in his hand – he is smoking the bees.

In the Melbourne suburb of Richmond, just last year, I met a taxi driver. His name was Aziz. He told me that as a young man in Sudan he kept bees in trees – in cylindrical hives suspended from the branches of his favourite beekeeping tree, the African Mahogany (Khaya senegalensis). He’d wrap himself in layers of clothes and plastic bags as a defense against stings, throw a rope up into the tree’s branches, scamper on up there and rob some honey. But before he did any of that he’d light a fire below the hives – to smoke the bees.

Of all the kit we beekeepers drag around to hive inspections – suits, jackets, veils; hive tools; gauntlet gloves; bee brushes – the smoker is my best friend. It calms the bees and, in a strange way, it calms me too. Lighting the smoker marks that moment when we beekeepers transition from thinking about chores and emails and bills to entering the realm of the honeybee super organism. Lighting the smoker concentrates the mind; it brings the moment into focus and, for me at least, triggers a systems check – what is the wind doing? (Which way does the smoke blow?). And where in that big, blue sky above is the sun? I want it behind me, shining down over my shoulder, so when I’m looking at those frames every bee, every glistening larva, every tiny egg sitting at the bottom of every cell – is lit up by crisp, bright, sunshine.

Smoke is a super complex chemical cocktail that, as far as beekeepers are concerned, has two very important effects on bees. For starters, these smoky compounds mask the alarm pheromone that is released when a bee stings or is accidentally crushed during an inspection. Smoke helps reduce an aggressive response from other bees to that alarm pheromone – which is nice for the beekeeper (because it means no or fewer stings) and nice for the bees (that would otherwise die if they stung the honey robber).

The second effect smoke has is that it triggers a feeding response in the bees – the bees think the roof is on fire and load up on their most precious commodity – honey – in case they need to evacuate the building. Beekeepers see this every time they smoke bees – their little bums stick out of the honeycomb cells as their heads are deep down in there, gorging on the good stuff. Once their bellies are full of honey it’s also physically harder for them to pull off the acrobatic moves required to sting – have you ever tried to do a yoga class after a Christmas feast? You could if you wanted to but, you know, it’s harder with an engorged stomach (I don’t actually do yoga… But I’d like to).

Every beekeeper has a preferred fuel for their smoker. I used to gather pine needles from the rust-coloured carpets of them under grand old conifers in Victoria’s Otway Ranges (the site of my first apiary). They smelt pretty good smouldering away. But when I moved my hives onto the rooftops and backyards of Melbourne’s inner and northern suburbs I couldn’t forage for pine needles like I used to. So I switched to the bark from paperbark trees, especially the prickly leaf paperbark, or tea tree (Melaleuca styphelioides). This bark burns cool and produces a wonderfully aromatic, thick, white smoke. Paperbarks are peppered throughout the city forest, which makes foraging for smoker fuel pretty easy. At any of my apiaries I can tell you exactly where the nearest paperbark is. Insect pollinators love the flowers of the paperbark too – trees literally hum with bees in summer when the Melaleuca is in bloom. I like the poetry of that: smoking the bees with bark from the tree that the bees have fed on, that the honey I’m robbing has been produced from.

That knowledge makes for an even more meaningful ritual – a very tidy little network of connections (and it makes my car – my fingers, my hair – smell amazing for hours afterwards. My personal incense, a signature scent).

So that’s my little story on the ritual of smoking the bees. Whether we beekeepers realise it or not, smoking the bees is an older-than-old custom that connects us with an ancient tradition spanning time and place. Every time I light my smoker I am plugging into a continuum of ceremony that has echoed down through generations of beekeepers the world over. It’s nothing fancy. It’s low-fi, simple, elemental stuff. We light a fire, smoke the bees, rob honey, and eat honey.

We’ve always smoked the bees – because we’ve always robbed their honey.

Honeyfingers is hosting a Swarm trap making workshop as part of our Fix and Make program. If you want to get your hands dirty press this.

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Junk Drawer Number Twenty-three




The Dickson

Serves 1


  • 30ml Sazerac rye whiskey
    30ml spice infused sake
    15ml lychee liqueur
    20ml lime juice
    15ml elderflower syrup
    45ml fresh apple juice


Add all your ingredients to a Boston shaker with some ice and give it a good shake.

Strain into an ice filled high ball glass.

You can garnish with sliced apple and cucumber if you’re feeling fancy.

This guy is currently being served at the Monster if you want to compare notes.


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Suzi and Jai shot by Lee Grant

Suzi McKinnon and Jai Tongbor

Suzi McKinnon and Jai Tongbor are the ones that get the things done.

When we were setting up, they are the Batman and Robin behind the scenes of Hotel Hotel. They have been here right from the very beginning of the beginning – researching, testing, checking, double-checking, talking (that’s mostly Suzi), thinking, liaising with other doers, thinkers, makers… Basically getting things done.

If it exists at the hotel, chances are it’s passed through Jai and Suzi’s hands, and it’s being relies on them in some way.


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Junk Drawer Number Twenty-two

Big Brutes


This week

What's on in February

Monthly Calendar

Art, Eat Drink, Film, Fix and Make, Live, Market, Music, Party, Talk, Walkabout, Workshop

The Best of What’s On in February


Eat Local

Eat Local Friday Market

The Botanic Gardens Farmer's Market is back. Delicious and ethical food in a beautiful location.

WHENFridays at 1.30PM to 7PM
WHEREThe National Botanic Gardens
GOEat it



Bread + Honey

Bees are excellent architects. And they pollinate up to 80% of the food we eat. This little display of twelve sculptures was made by artist Giorgia Mocilnik, beekeeper Honeyfingers and honeybees.

WHENFrom Sat 6.2 to Sun 20.3
WHEREDisplay cases on the ground floor of Hotel Hotel
GOThe Planthunter

Fix and Make Workshop


Toys from Trash (kids workshop)

Make toys and create experiments from household materials usually thrown away with Arvind Gupta – a scientist, day-dreamer, inventor and toymaker who lives and works in India. fixandmake.com.au

WHENSaturday 27.2
WHEREFix and Make Shed, Hotel Hotel
GOFix and Make



Bowie Ball

An evening to commemorate the life and art of David Bowie. With live music from Alice Cottee, spoken word tributes by Hannah McCann and Duncan Driver and a special performance by Venus Mantrap.

WHENSaturday 13.2 at 7PM
WHEREAinslie and Gorman Arts Centre
GOBowie Balls


They've Already Won

They’ve Already Won

Darlings of the critics, Harriet and Pierce play the exaggerated worst versions of themselves. In pantsuits and pom poms that confront everything that is wrong with this evil selfish world.

WHENTuesday 16.2 to Saturday 20.2
WHEREGorman Arts Centre

Eat Drink

Picnic National Library


Everyday can't be a picnic but Fridays can be. There's a new pop up bar happening on the National Library's Terrace. Views of Lake Burley, cocktails, yum cha and noodles.

WHENFridays from 5PM
WHEREPicnic. Terrace of the National Library

Fix and Make Talk


Something from Nothing

The average Australian household with children has in excess of 100 toys. Yikes. Most end up as landfill. A talk with Arvind Gupta – a scientist, day-dreamer, inventor and toymaker. fixandmake.com.au

WHENFriday 26.2
WHEREMosaic room, Hotel Hotel
COST$25 / $15
GOFix and Make

Fix and Make Workshop


Meet the Toymaker

Drop on in to meet Arvind Gupta – a scientist, day-dreamer, inventor and toymaker who lives and works in India. He’ll be hanging out whipping up toys from household waste. fixandmake.com.au

WHENSaturday 27.2
WHEREMosaic room, Hotel Hotel
GOFix and Make


Sunday Afternoon Jazz

Sunday Afternoon Jazz

For all the sophisticats. Sunday Afternoon Jazz at the Museum of Australian Democracy.

WHENSundays at 1PM to 2.30PM
WHEREMuseum of Australian Democracy



Gunna Writing Class

Gunna write? Gunna write better, different... Catherine Deveny, comedian and all round excellent lady is coming to tellya how you can unblock ya creative digestive system with her writing masterclass.

WHENSaturday 27.2 from 10AM to 4PM
GOGunna book


Stargate and me


Tommy Balogh pushes the gallery opening hours well into the night with his ambitious project Voyage. Opening party Friday 5.2 from 6PM. Come for wine and space travel.

WHENFriday 5.2 to Sunday 21.2
WHERENishi Gallery


Openair Cinema

Openair Cinema

With music by day and movies by night, Openair Cinemas support local musicians and play a mix of favourite cult classics and new release films.

WHENThursday 14.1 to Sunday 21.2
WHEREPatrick White Lawns Parkes Place West



Sufjan Stevens!

Sufjan Stevens! Oh ma gawd! Many exclamation points.

WHENThursday 25.2 at 7.30PM
WHERECanberra Theatre Centre


Kenneth Tyler

Behind the Scenes: Tyler Graphics

An exhibition of the work and collaborations of master printer Kenneth Tyler. Elaborate graphic artworks from a diverse range of artists are shown here in the context of their making.

WHENuntil Sunday 8.5
WHERENGA Contemporary
GOBehind the Scenes


The Last Temptation

The Last Temptation

Ken and Julia Yonetani’s installation is a response to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident. Chandeliers made of uranium glass and a nine-metre table made of over one tonne of salt.

WHENSaturday 12.12 until March Artist Talk at 2PM on Saturday 12.12
WHERENGA Contemporary



Life Drawing

Get a Life! Join local artist Meg Morton for life drawing classes. Materials and naked people (models) included.

WHENSecond and last Tuesday of the month at 6PM to 8PM
WHERELevel 8 of the Nishi building - meet at the bottom of the Grand stair


Yhonnie Scarce

Weak in Colour but Strong in Blood

Aesthetically beautiful, politically motivated and personally driven, Yhonnie Scarce’s delicately crafted glass work explores the continuing effects of colonisation on Australia’s First People.

WHENFriday 4.12 to Saturday 13.2
WHEREGorman Arts Centre
GOStrong in Blood.


Sideshow Alley

Sideshow Alley: Infamy, the Macabre and the Portrait

Featuring a selection of death masks, post-mortem drawings and other spooky portraits, Sideshow Alley will consider images of Australian convicts and criminals throughout the 19th century.

WHENSaturday 5.12 to Sunday 28.2
WHERENational Portrait Gallery


freehugs Matt Bedford

National Multicultural Festival

Travel around the world in a couple o days. There's something for everyone. Comedy, performance art, food and wine stalls, street parties, music and more.

WHENFriday 12.2 to Sunday 14.2
WHEREAbout Town


The Necks

The Necks

The Necks offer a musical experience, unlike any piano trio. Masters of their own musical language of long-form improvisation.

WHENSaturday 13.2 at 8PM
WHEREThe Street Theatre




"Encounters" reveals the powerful stories of rare Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander objects from the British Museum’s unparalleled collection, many of which have not been seen since first contact.

WHENFriday 27.11 to Monday 28.3
WHERENational Museum Australia


1576671 039

Yoga on level eight

Odona Farska teaches stretchy yoga (hatha) on level eight of the Nishi building. This one is for the Thursday crew.

WHENThursdays 6.15PM to 7.30PM
WHERELevel 8, Nishi building, 2 Phillip Law Street, Canberra
COSTFrom $15
GOFlow yoga




Odona does Hatha yoga in the Mosaic room.

WHENSaturdays 8AM to 9.15AM
WHEREMosaic room, Hotel Hotel
COSTFrom $15
GOFlow yoga



Tom Roberts

This summer The National Gallery of Australia is showing the work of legendary Australian artist Tom Roberts. The exhibition brings together Tom Roberts' most famous paintings.

WHENFriday 4.12 to Monday 28.3
WHERENational Gallery of Australia
View All: What's On

Dale Hardiman at home. Photographed by Lee Grant.

Dale, doing good

Dale Hardiman is everywhere (in a very good way). He’s not just an industrial designer but also a curator and educator. He’s always making making making and constantly thinking thinking thinking.

Dale explores many ideas via many modes. He commissions and curates new work through Object Future – a design commissioning platform and exhibition supported by Linden New Art (the third iteration opens this week). He makes one-off objects that explore particular conceptual ideas through his solo practice. He explores mass-production through a commercial studio called Dowel Jones. Oh and he runs a collective with two others called Lab De Stu. Oh and oh, he teaches a studio at RMIT where the focus for students is on ways to manufacture locally.

Yep. He is everywhere. Doing good.

He’s rather obsessed with making things from temporary, ordinary and local materials and his experiments with Plastimake (a biodegrable, remouldable plastic made in the ACT) are a glorious manifestation of this obsession.

It takes around 5 years for a tree branch to biodegrade and the same goes for Plastimake. So its a match made in heaven as they biodegrade at the same rate. Using ad hoc methods that anyone can adopt, Dale has combined the natural with the synthetic to create a collection of practical and experimental furniture items – tables, chairs, benches and ladders. We like to think of them as camp furniture. Items you can make from scratch by hand while setting up your campsite with friends. Eventually the furniture breaks down, leaving no trace.

This weekend, Dec 5, Dale is hanging out at Hotel Hotel teaching people how to make their own camp furniture from foraged branches and Plastimake as a part of Fix and Make. You don’t need to be a designer to sign up. The only equipment and tools needed are a kettle, some hot water and your hands.

Dale’s also right into process over outcome. He’s more interested in the way things were made, why they were made and the idea behind that thing – rather than the monetary value of something. Saturday’s workshop won’t just be about the potential to make excellent furniture from tree branches and plastic but the potential to do more with less – with the simple materials that surround us.

There are still a few places left for Saturday’s workshop. Book your tix here.

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